Karl Farcnik, BSc, MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Michelle Persyko, Psy.D, C.Psych, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
C. Bassel, M.A., University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Aphasia has been described as a disorder of verbal communication due to an acquired lesion (or lesions) of the central nervous system involving speech production and/or comprehension.1 Aphasia does not involve deficits in global processes of communication, but only in its linguistic component, as evidenced by patients' ability to communicate through other means (e.g., complex nonverbal gestures).2 Aphasia is an integral part of the clinical presentation in Alzheimer Disease (AD). It is also an important diagnostic feature of other neurological disorders, which may be distinctive or overlap with AD. Clinicians should have a conceptual understanding of the different forms of aphasia as well as the conditions with which they are associated. The authors will review the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of aphasia, in the context of AD, Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA), Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and stroke.
The major types of aphasia can be classified as either fluent or nonfluent.